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Secretary Bryson Welcomes Russia's Progress Toward WTO Accession

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cites Jobs Benefits for American Exporters

U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson applauded the outcome of today’s meeting of the Working Party on Russia’s Accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), which agreed to the terms and conditions for Russia’s accession to the WTO. The decision opens the way for WTO Ministers to approve a formal invitation for Russia’s membership, expected to take place at the trade body’s ministerial conference on December 15-17.  
“President Obama and his administration have been strong advocates of Russia joining the WTO, which will create important new opportunities for U.S. exporters and create jobs for American workers,” said Bryson. “By bringing Russia into the rules-based system which governs trade and by providing the means to enforce those rules, Russia’s membership in the WTO will give American companies greater and more predictable access to Russia’s growing market.”
American companies will benefit from both the market access and equal treatment commitments included as part of the agreed terms and conditions. In particular, U.S. suppliers will find more open access in infrastructure services sectors such as telecommunications, computer and related services, express delivery, distribution, financial services, and audio-visual services, along with reductions in Russian tariffs on a wide range of manufactured and agricultural goods.  
For U.S. industry to get the full benefits of Russia’s WTO accession, it will be necessary for the United States to establish  Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status with Russia. In order for the United States to establish PNTR, Congress will need to terminate the application to Russia of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.  
“Establishing PNTR with Russia will ensure that U.S. firms enjoy the same access to Russia’s large and growing market as our trading partners do, and supports the objectives of the President’s National Export Initiative to expand exports and support American jobs,” Bryson added.  “We look forward to working with Congress to achieve this goal.”

See the International Trade Administration’s fact sheet on trade opportunities with Russia here.